The Shadow Queen
by C.J. Redwine
Release date: Feb. 16th. 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy/retelling
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.
In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
*I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss to review honestly*
So first let me just say, I did not under any circumstance, HATE this book. I actually enjoyed it for the most part. I got bored towards the middle and wanted to skim bits and I rolled my eyes way too often. But, in general, I enjoyed this one. I thought the end was kind of a let down but I LOVED the beginning. Still, this book did barely get 3 stars from me and there are lots of reasons why.
I wanted to like this book, I really did. And I started to love it at first, unfortunately the further I read, the worse it got. That's not to say I thought it was a horrible book I just feel like it could've been so much better.
Reasons this book didn't work for me:
- It didn't have enough world building
- I didn't connect with the characters enough
- I mean, even the dragons...I LOVE dragons, they're my favorite thing ever and I found even them lacking because they weren't properly developed and explained.
- I don't understand how this book was 400 pages.
The Shadow Queen is set in a world of...magic? And dragons? Possibly fae? In a kingdom called Ravenspire that's also kind of sorta surrounded by other kingdoms, some of which have magic, but actually, most of Ravenspire doesn't have magic, the magic users come from a different kingdom where magic is now mostly outlawed.... Did you get all that? Yeah. Me neither. And okay, I admit, I'm exaggerating; I'm being a little dramatic as I do, but for the most part, that really confusing run on sentence? Yeah, that's what I know after finishing this book.
Now, also, this book is the first in what's going to be a fairy tale retelling companion series (from what I know). Now here's my thing, this ONE BOOK should have been a series all it's own. At least two books, maybe three. Why? Becuase I wanted to love it but it was so RUSHED. And so much was happening all at once. I think I would've loved it so much better if it had been stretched out into more than one book.
As is, you're thrust into this world that's not really explained. You have the Princess Lorelai, who's mother died and who's dad is the King and marries her aunt who is now the Queen. Of course, she's an evil queen who kills the king when Lorelai tries to stop her. This was years ago, flashforward, Queen Irina thinks Lorelai and her brother Leo, died with the King. They escaped and are now plotting to take back the kingdom along with Gabril who saved them and has trained and raised them.
Meanwhile, in another kingdom you have Kol, the reckless prince. Hi's kingdom is under attack by ogres who can suddenly do magic...? Kol sets out for Ravenspire, the only place he knows he can bargain with a magic user to save his kingdom.
So we're thrust into all this and things just happen so fast. There's a death early on that made me hate this book so much. It was one of the only characters I loved and I just felt like it wasn't needed and like it was too soon. Then, things get really repetitive. Lorelai does something magical that alerts Irina to her presence so Irina retaliates with magic and their magic fights. Repeat three pages later.
Everything was underdeveloped:
I FEEL like the magic was cool but I didn't completely understand it. And once I'd pieced things together it was kind of too late. I took me way too long to figure out that all the magic was somehow linked to hearts. And it was such a cool idea, but nothing was explained. Not the words they had to use, not how Lorelai knew them all and was so good when she wasn't able to practice on anything that Irina's magic had touched. Not even really how Irina could find Lorelai whenever she touched something.
The DRAGONS. SUCH A COOL IDEA. But, again, I NEEDED MORE.
The Prince/Huntsman. Okay, I really liked Kol, I liked how the author mixed the two roles together, I liked the DRAGON THING. But again, underdeveloped. Same with the romance that I wanted so badly to ship.
Lorelai was a pretty decent character, I liked her a lot and I did connect with her at points. My only real problem was that the author didn't give her a giant personality and I hated how we were continually reminded of her personally. Which was basically, she was smart and strategic. Oh, and very kind.
I know what you're thinking now, what exactly did I like? That's the thing. I liked the whole book for the most part. I enjoyed it and had fun reading it. It was different and I liked all the elements -- the heart magic, the dragons, and everything. It's just that it was rushed so that while I liked it, whenever I stopped to think all I could see was flaws.
I liked it but I won't buy it and I probably won't read more of the series and just, in general, I think it had so much potential it just didn't meet it. It was repetitive, not just with events but wording. Over and over again, it was constantly reminding you of what was going on and what the characters were feeling when you already knew. The side characters weren't in it enough and one, Gabril, was really just a plot device that I found very annoying.
OVERALL: I swear, I did enjoy this one. I don't regret reading it, I think and hope that other people will enjoy it. I do recommend it if it interests you, it just didn't live up to my expectations from a fantasy book.